International Institute for Environment and Development
International Institute for Environment and Development
News Article | May 4, 2017
Over 370 million indigenous peoples live in more than 70 countries across the world. While they constitute about five percent of the world’s population, they account for approximately 15percent of the world’s poor. Such is the case with indigenous Mayangna women living in the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve in northern Nicaragua, who face poverty, isolation, domestic violence and triple discrimination based on their gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic situation. The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) partnership, hosted by FAO, has supported Mayangna women to sell local products and improve their livelihoods. Capacity building workshops have taught the women how to improve product quality and equipped them with market knowledge, while also helping to preserve their culture. At the same time, the FFF helps Mayangna women gain social and economic empowerment by strengthening the position of women’s producer organizations. This enhanced productive and organizational capacity is giving hope to many women in the community for a better future. Preserving culture and improving livelihoods Telma Maria Rena Ramirez, a member of the Bonanza municipality of Mayangna Territory, belongs to a group of indigenous Mayangna women who work with the bark of the native tuno tree to make handicrafts, such as bags, folders and wallets. “This is a raw material that our ancestors left which has rich value for us,” Telma says. “Now, as Mayangna women, we are starting to achieve economic independence for our families through the products we sell thanks to the tuno.” Through training, exchanges and continuous coaching, FFF support has helped Mayangna women improve the quality of their products, diversify markets and get better prices. Some 40 Mayangna women and young people from 10 forest and farm producer organizations attended a course on market analysis and development. Local forests have always provided the women with products such as fruits and fibres for their own households. By promoting tuno handicraft making as an income generating activity, the FFF is also helping to preserve the Mayangna culture. Over 200 women are also diversifying their income by selling and processing the fruit of the ramón or ojoche tree (Brosimum alicastrum). Thanks to a knowledge-sharing event with women’s producer groups from Guatemala and Honduras, the Mayangna women learned about the full potential of the ramón nut. “We have trained many women who did not know about the Nuez de Ramón, or breadnut fruit,” says Benedicta Dionisio Ramirez from a women’s producer group in Guatemala. “But now they have the knowledge and are not only consuming it but also selling it, including on international markets.” Striving for social empowerment Strengthening women’s leadership and self-esteem has been an important part of the capacity development plan. In 2015, the FFF collaborated with the Mayangna Nation’s board of directors and Mayangna women’s organizations to strengthen their engagement in policy processes. Together they addressed issues such as food security, domestic violence, and the improvement of production systems. Meetings were also held in each Mayangna territory to discuss strategies to improve the position of women’s organizations. Increasing internal unity and organization were identified as priorities, as was the need to increase the participation of these women in public institutions and decision-making. With FFF support, 130 women from nine territories attended the first Forum of Mayangna Women in the Autonomous Region of the North Caribbean Coast to strengthen women’s organizations in the respective territories. As a result, the women established the Mayangna Nation Network of Women. Forest and Farm Facility The FFF is a partnership, launched in September 2012, between FAO, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), and AgriCord. It is guided by a steering committee of members affiliated with forest producer, community forestry and indigenous peoples’ organizations, the international research community, business development service provider organizations, the private sector, government, and donors. Current donors include Finland, Germany, Sweden, the United States and AgriCord.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2012.2.5-03 | Award Amount: 3.70M | Year: 2013
General objective of the project is to integrate advancement in scientific knowledge about the impact of food chains with application of knowledge to practice to increase food chains sustainability through public policies and private strategies. This general objective will be pursued through the following specific objectives: To develop and validate a performance criteria matrix for assessment and comparison of food chains operating at a range of geographical scales through analysis of how food chain impacts are communicated in different spheres of society. To build a database of quantifiable indicators of impact and a set of 20 case studies aimed at understanding how impacts are generated within specific food chains. To advance knowledge on methodological problems and trade-offs arising when measuring and comparing the impact of food chains within and between sectors. To assess how performance is perceived by stakeholders in different national contexts through participatory assessment and multicriteria analysis of the different typologies of food chains. To assess the actual and potential role of public and private policies addressing food chains and to turn assessment into policy recommendations. To build a network that turns the advancement of scientific knowledge into decision making tools for domestic and public consumers, producers, citizens, scientists, policy makers, civil society organizations. The project will be developed around the following assumptions: Costs and benefits analysis needs methodological update: for this reason the broader concept of performance is used The performance of food chains has multiple dimensions (economic, social, environmental, health, ethical) To turn knowledge into practice a demand-driven approach is necessary, focusing on how food choice affects the five dimensions of impact The complexity of impacts of food chains requires plurality of methods and transdisciplinarity
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-18-2015 | Award Amount: 4.96M | Year: 2016
SALSA will assess the role of small farms and small food businesses in delivering a sustainable and secure supply of affordable, nutritious and culturally adequate food. SALSA will identify the mechanisms which, at different scales, can strengthen the role of small farms in food systems and thereby support sustainable food and nutrition security (FNS). By considering a gradient of 30 reference regions in Europe and in Africa, we will obtain a differentiated understanding of the role of small farms and small food businesses in very differently structured food systems and situations. SALSA will elaborate and implement a transdisciplinary, multi-scale approach that builds on and connects relevant theoretical and analytical frameworks within a food systems approach, and that uses qualitative, consultative and quantitative methods. We will also test a new combination of data-based methods and tools (including satellite technologies) for rigorously assessing in quantitative terms the interrelationships between small farms, other small food businesses and FNS, paying particular attention to limiting and enabling factors. SALSA will use participatory methods, at regional level, and establish a more global Community of Practice and multi-stakeholder learning platform, based on FAOs TECA online communication and learning platform. The SALSA consortium, and the joint learning and close cooperation, have both been designed with the EU - Africa dialogue in mind. Responding to the call we will unravel the complex interrelationships between small farms, small food businesses and FNS, and unfold the role played by small farms in (a) the balance between the different dimensions of sustainability, (b) maintaining more diverse production systems, (c) supporting the urban/rural balance in terms of labour and (d) in facilitating territorial development in countries facing a strong rural population growth.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2009.4.2.3.1 | Award Amount: 4.33M | Year: 2010
POLICYMIX aims to contribute to achieving the EUs goals of reversing trends in biodiversity loss beyond 2010 through the use of cost-effective and incentive-compatible economic instruments. POLICYMIX focuses on the role of economic instruments in a mix of operational conservation policy instruments. To this end, POLICYMIX will develop an integrated evaluation framework that considers multiple policy assessment criteria biodiversity and ecosystem service provision indicators; valuation of their economic benefit and policy implementation costs; social and distributional impacts; and legal and institutional constraints at different levels of government. This multi-level approach is of paramount importance for effective biodiversity conservation policy given the overlap between ecological systems and systems of governance in practice. In particular, we evaluate the cost-effectiveness and benefits of a range of economic instruments vis--vis direct regulation through command-and-control in a variety of European and Latin American case studies. The suite of selected POLICYMIX case studies aims to provide complementary examples of innovative economic instruments such as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) and ecological fiscal transfers, and assess the possibilities for transfer of policy success stories, providing concrete learning possibilities for policy-makers. POLICYMIX actively uses advisory boards including land-users, local managers and national policy-makers, who collaborate with our researchers in the feasibility assessments of economic instruments. Based on this science-policy dialogue, POLICYMIX will develop a stepwise framework for carrying out policy assessment using available data, multi-criteria spatial targeting tools and tiered policy selection matrices. The POLICYMIX approach to policy design at multiple government levels is highly complementary with on-going EU ecological research on multi-scale conservation prioritization.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: ENV.2013.6.5-1 | Award Amount: 1.04M | Year: 2013
Policy-makers aiming to accelerate the shift to a green economy have to balance different objectives that, in practice, might contradict or reinforce each other. A good knowledge of these different aspects as well as their interrelations is therefore crucial for developing and implementing effective policies for the transition to a green economy. Many international organisations, research institutions, and non-profit groups have developed indicators and support tools designed to measure progress made on building a green economy. NETGREEN will take stock of this fragmented body of work and enable policy-makers, practitioners and researchers in different fields to engage in a meaningful discussion on the details and the broader issue of how to measure green growth. NETGREENs main impact lies not only in collecting but structuring the information on the indicators and tools, including sustainable development indicators and complements to GDP, using an open-access, searchable web-based database and comprehensive meta-data that allows the users to quickly identify suitable metrics, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to optimally use them for their policy and research objectives. NETGREENs stocktaking exercise produces complete, easily searchable information, which facilitates comparison and contextualisation of the data. The website will become a vital medium for this discussion, and the focal point for existing and new networks of policy-makers and researchers. In addition, NETGREEN will organise a series of workshops to build and further develop this community, and to disseminate the work to the diverse user groups of the projects results. The workshops will include policy-oriented workshops on specific topics (thematic workshops on policies), and expert workshops on methodological questions (indicator typology, database and website design). Smaller workshops targeted to key audiences will promote the building-up of the user- community.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: SSH.2011.4.1-2 | Award Amount: 3.50M | Year: 2012
The overall objective of the African Rural-City Connections (RurbanAfrica) project is to explore the connections between rural transformations, mobility, and urbanization processes and analyze how these contribute to an understanding of the scale, nature and location of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The RurbanAfrica project will advance the research agenda on rural-city connections in sub-Saharan Africa by addressing a range of crucial components: agricultural transformations, rural livelihoods, city dynamics, and access to services in cities. In this respect the project will challenge a number of generally accepted truths about rural and city development, and the importance and implication of migration in shaping these. It will thereby question the overall negative interpretations of the economic role of rural-urban mobility and migration in sub-Saharan Africa and generate new insights into the relationship between rural-city connections and poverty dynamics. The project will include nine partners; four European, one international, and four sub-Saharan African. RurbanAfrica focuses on four country cases: Rwanda, Tanzania, Cameroon and Ghana and examine in-depth two rural-city connections in each of the case countries. Research is organized into six work packages: Agricultural transformation, rural livelihoods, city dynamics, access to services, knowledge platform and policy dialogue, and synthesis, dissemination and management. Central to the approach is the on-going integration of policy research, policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and empirical research. Through ongoing collaboration between senior and junior researchers from European and sub-Saharan African partners, and co-supervising of PhD students, the project will contribute to capacity building and potentially impact curriculum development. The research and dissemination process will be supported by a scientific advisory board, with members from European and sub-Saharan African research institutions.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: ENV.2013.6.5-1 | Award Amount: 1.14M | Year: 2013
The unsustainable path of our current economic system in managing both natural and man-made resources demands a paradigm shift in our idea of economic development. We need to define an innovative, multidisciplinary and integrate approach to identify, develop and deploy technologies, tools and services promoting a transition to a low-carbon, sustainable, resilient and socially comprehensive economic development. This new economic paradigm has been called the green economy. The contribution of private enterprises and business communities toward the transition to a green economy has often been underestimated. Yet, Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and corporate actors work as key players and they have the power to change the socio-economic and physical landscape. Many SMEs and corporate actors have introduced innovative solutions which have greatly contributed to our understanding of green economy, and have developed revolutionary organisational, behavioural and technological approaches to the problem of sustainability and human well-being. Despite these developments, a large part of the business communities lag behind the best in class. The aim of our project is to address two problems: 1) the disconnection between best in class / benchmark green business practices and the wider business communities 2) the disconnection between applied research institutions investigating models for a transition to a green economy and the business community. We will do so through the design, deployment and use of a suite of instruments and a series of activities, i.e. a platform, aimed at developing an exchange network of best practices involving the best in class private enterprises, the academic research institutions, business networks and the wider business community, with a special focus on SMEs. The GREENECONET platform aims at becoming the reference point of access for actors who desires to become involved in the green economy.
News Article | November 4, 2016
The Paris agreement on climate change enters into force on Friday, marking the first time that governments have agreed legally binding limits to global temperature rises. The passage of the accord – the fruit of more than two decades of often tortuous international negotiations on combating climate change – was hailed by nations and observers around the world. Under the agreement, all governments that have ratified the accord, which includes the US, China, India and the EU, now carry an obligation to hold global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels. That is what scientists regard as the limit of safety, beyond which climate change is likely to become catastrophic and irreversible. Countries have put forward commitments on curbing carbon emissions under the agreement, but a report on Thursday found those pledges would see temperature rises significantly overshoot the threshold, with 3C of warming. Environmental groups urged governments to do more. Andrew Norton, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, said: “The voices of the people who will be hit hardest by the devastating impacts of climate change need to be heard. Governments must work to plan practical steps for the agreement’s implementation, and set out how climate finance can actually reach people in the poorest, most vulnerable countries.” Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change for the charity ActionAid, added: “The Paris agreement sends a much-needed signal to politicians and industry that we have to build a new world, and this has to start now. However, the deal is not enough to keep people and the planet safe.” Asad Rehman, international climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “The Paris agreement is a major step in the right direction, but it falls a long way short of the giant leap needed to tackle climate change. Far tougher action is needed to rapidly slash emissions.” Greenpeace said that while the deal needed strengthening, it was a “momentous occasion” that it had come into force. Next week, governments will meet in Morocco under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss how to put the Paris accord into force, and meet its aims. Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s climate chief, and Salaheddine Mezouar, foreign minister of Morocco, said in a joint statement: “Humanity will look back on 4 November 2016 as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future. “The Paris agreement is undoubtedly a turning point in the history of common human endeavour, capturing the combined political, economic and social will of governments, cities, regions and businesses and investors to overcome the existential threat of unchecked climate change.” Lord Turner, former head of the UK government’s statutory advisory committee on climate change, said: “The fact that this crucial UN agreement is coming into force within a year of signing is a hugely important achievement, and the good news is that agreement to the Paris deal is being matched by real progress in many countries.” However, fossil fuel industries see continued opportunities for development within a low-carbon world. Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the World Coal Association, said: “For many countries, coal will continue to play a significant role in economic development, industrialisation and urbanisation. For the Paris agreement to be realised, we need to support those countries [that are committed to lower emission coal technology, such as high-efficiency plants]. We cannot wish coal away.”
News Article | January 20, 2017
A row of mangrove trees sticking out of the sand, exposed by low tide off Kutubdia island in the Bay of Bengal, is all that remains of a coastal village that for generations was home to 250 families. The villagers were forced to flee as their land, which had been slowly eroding for decades, was finally engulfed by the ever-rising tide five years ago. For the embattled people of Ali Akbar Dial, a collection of disappearing villages on the southern tip of the island in Bangladesh, the distant trees serve as a bittersweet reminder of what they have lost and a warning of what is come. The low-lying island of Kutubdia has one of the fastest-ever sea level rises recorded in the world, placing it bang on the front line of climate change, and the islanders are fighting a battle they fear is already lost. “I was born there, so were my parents and grandparents,” said Onu Das, 25, standing on a sandy coastal path atop a concrete embankment, pointing to a forest of mangroves. “There were mango, betel nut and coconut trees. Now we are landless and it is very difficult. We do not get food regularly. We fish. Somehow we are trying to survive.” “The ocean is torturing us,” said Pushpo Rani Das, 28, a mother of three who has had to move her home four times to escape storm surges. “We can’t stop it. Water enters my house in every high tide, especially in the rainy season.” Rani fears that soon her family will have to leave the island altogether. A 100 yards from where she lives, a half-built brick mosque lies abandoned, its cement foundations washed away. UN scientists predict some of the worst impacts of climate change will occur in south-east Asia, and that more than 25 million people in Bangladesh will be at risk from sea level rise by 2050. It is well known that many of the countries most vulnerable to climate change are among those who contribute to it the least, and here that’s certainly true. The carbon footprint of Kutubdia’s 100,000 islanders is small – most do not even have access to a regular electricity supply. But they fear that for them, time is already running out. Tides that once stopped short of the three-metre-high concrete embankment, built by the government to protect the island, now flood over it and the embankment is damaged in many places. While no scientific monitoring is done here, sea level rise of 8mm a year over 20 years has been recorded at Cox’s Bazar, 50 miles away on the mainland. This is nearly three times the level for Bangladesh as a whole and up to five times the world average. So far, members of the fishing community of Ali Akbar Dail, perched precariously on a strip of coast next to the embankment, have learned to adapt to the many natural disasters thrown at them. When the cyclones hit, they hoist their children on to their shoulders and head for the network of cyclone shelters, which, along with the country’s early warning system, have dramatically reduced fatalities. However, after a year that they say has brought more – and more powerful – storms than before, the fishermen are engaged in a battle for survival against their only asset: the ocean. They say the climate is changing too fast for them to adapt. “For me, it is the increase in signals [storm warnings], that they are coming in winter,” said Jogot Hari Jala Das, 70, a village elder, squinting against the hot sun. “It is hot now and it is supposed to be winter.” The fishermen no longer fish in the shallow waters around the island because of a decrease in catches, which they believe is linked to the water warming, Hari said. Now, they travel 10 to 15 hours to the deep sea. But this year, they have seen an increase in signals, forcing them back to land and cutting their earnings further. “Around 15 to 20 years back, signals were not as frequent as they are now,” Hari said. “When the signal comes you can’t go to the deep sea because it could change at any time.” Asked what they would do if they could not fish, Hari laughed. “We can’t do anything. When we catch fish, we eat. Our only asset is the ocean.” It is a dangerous life. Last month, 89 fishermen who left for the deep sea did not return. In Cox’s Bazar, meteorologists confirmed the fishermen’s observations. Last year, there were four cyclones – Roanu, Kyant, Nada and Vardah – in the Bay of Bengal. Usually there is only one. Nazmul Huque, an assistant meteorologist, said: “This year, the quantity of signals was more than any other year in the Bay of Bengal. Two or three depressions occur normally, but this year there were seven or eight, and four cyclones.” Huque also confirmed a change in the pattern of the seasons. The monsoon, which runs from June to October, began later last year, he said, and the year before. “We see the pattern changing,” said Huque. “But I’m not a researcher and this is a subject that needs research. Whether it is climate change, I’m not sure.” Scientists say the sinking of islands in the Bay in Bengal is due to natural and possibly manmade climate change. Erosion linked to storm surges, for instance, predate global warming. But sea surface temperatures, linked to sea level rise, have risen in the Bay of Bengal. In a report published last month, scientists said they believed the higher surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean were causing cyclones to increase their frequency and intensity. Moqbul Ahmed, project coordinator of Coast, an organisation working with climate-affected communities and migrants on Kutubdia and elsewhere, believes the villagers are victims of climate change. “High tides never used to enter the villages before,” said Ahmed. “One portion of the island has already been washed away. I’m quite convinced it is happening because of climate change. “There are too many challenges. People are losing their ancestral land, and they are having to migrate to other places. There, they have to adapt to a new environment. There are families from Kutubdia who were once rich, with land and cows and boats, and now are living in slums and are beggars. There is no money for the migrated people and no government policy to help them.” Tens of thousands of islanders from Kutubdia have already fled to the mainland, many of them resettled by the government after 20 villages were swamped when a massive cyclone hit the island in 1991. Most live in makeshift corrugated iron and bamboo huts in a shanty town called Kutubdia para (meaning “neighbourhood”), behind the airport in Cox’s Bazar, the longest stretch of sandy beach in the world and a popular resort for middle-class Bangladeshi tourists. But they, too, are anxious and uncertain about the future. The local government wants them to move elsewhere so it can build a bigger airport to service the growing tourist industry. Outside the shanty town’s primary school, where children are learning English, Didarul Islam Rubel 29, spoke of his father’s heartbreak on leaving the island with nothing. “My father had four fishing boats but he lost most of [them] and a lot of land during the 1991 cyclone,” said Islam. “He had to go back to being a day labourer and fish with nets. It was a huge shift. My father’s generation lost their way of life. If the government drive us out, another generation will lose theirs.” The question of whether the weather extremes in Bangladesh are down to climate change is difficult to answer: more difficult still is whether those who have lost land like those in Kutubdia can be deemed climate change or environment migrants. Saleemul Huq, the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development and a senior fellow of the International Institute for Environment and Development, said: “You can’t ignore the fact that what climate change will do is exacerbate what is happening. Erosion because of storm surges precedes climate change. But if people are talking about king tides and queen tides getting bigger, and observing that it is getting worse, then you shouldn’t discount it. Our former environment minister, who is from Chittagong, has talked about it.” Huq said the term “climate change refugee or migrant” was disputed, because it is very difficult to disentangle the reasons why someone might migrate. “But you can make a very strong prediction: that tens of millions of people living in coastal areas of Bangladesh will definitely have to move because they will be unable to pursue the livelihoods that their forefathers have done. “Climate change migration is an issue of the future that we will have to think about and plan for.”
Dodman D.,International Institute for Environment and Development
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2011
The contribution of urban areas to global greenhouse gas emissions has received substantial recent attention, in order both to allocate responsibility for climate change and to identify appropriate mitigation responses. The paper summarises these arguments, highlighting the challenges involved in creating an accurate and comparative measure of this. It shows how geography, urban form, and the urban economy influence the emissions from any given city. It then examines the use of 'production'-based and 'consumption'-based approaches for measuring emissions, and shows how particular lifestyles can be seen as the underlying drivers for manufacturing, food production, deforestation, and other activities that generate greenhouse gases. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.